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Friday, June 22, 2018

Let Students Take Control of Their Learning | Education Week

"A principal shares his alternative school's approach to connecting the most challenging students to their education through real-world experiences" reports Matthew Lynch, Professor, Author, Advocate and Futurist.

Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12
At Kankakee School District, we asked our students the question, "What was your most memorable moment in school?" More than 90% of their responses reflected a project they created on their own, and the relationship they had with a teacher during it. They remember the moments where they were excited and felt in charge of their own learning.

For a long time, we've been trying to nail down that golden learning style that works best for every student. But ultimately, every single person thinks and learns differently. To unlock every student's potential for growth, we have to start by letting them take control of their own learning.

'This is my classroom, and my work'
Since 2007, I've played a role in educating students, from being a middle school science teacher to becoming assistant principal in the Chicago Public School District. In my current role as a principal of an alternative school in the Chicago suburb of Kankakee, I've come to realize the importance of taking learning styles seriously in a way that encourages students to find their passion and truly fall in love with learning.

To do this, we held our own project-based learning day for the very first time this year. Students showcased their work and explained the steps they took.  For example, they explained how they visited the county attorney's office over a period of time to better understand the court system. One student even discovered an interest in law and policy when visiting the county attorney's office! They were so proud of their efforts and the lessons they learned, because they were able to choose their project and guide their own learning. A project like this, where it's hands-on, real-world experience, truly brings the learning experience to a new level.

We made projects like this happen with the implementation of our online PBL platform Defined STEM, which provides a resource to guide teachers and students on their own competency-based learning journey. Students were able to articulate their understanding through their project in a way that suited them, whether it was a video they made or a presentation where they confidently talked to an audience. When students feel in control, it shows through in their excitement about learning new ideas and topics.

The impact of students owning their learning styles has been reflected in their achievement. For example, we've seen minor and major infractions decline tremendously, and attendance has increased since we started working on implementing a PBL platform more than two years ago. We've seen students who were on the verge of dropping out graduate with flying colors and talk about how excited they were to pursue a career that truly sparked their interests. Our students are on a path to excellence, with test scores going up and averaging the same as a nearby magnet school for gifted students.

Students are learning in an entirely new way that exposes them to ideas they may have never known they had an interest in. They feel connected and meaningfully involved in school when they can talk to issues that reflect their passions, interests, and personalities. Now that we've transitioned from a traditional classroom set-up with rows of chairs, teachers are playing the role of a facilitator, and students have said, "This is my classroom, and my work."
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Source: Education Week


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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Best music apps for iPhone and Android | Digital Trends

Music junkie? Here are the 24 best music apps for consuming and creating tunes, as Digital Trends reports.

Based on our independent research, we estimate that there are probably between a zillion and a jillion different music apps on Google Play and the iOS App Store.

Photo: Digital Trends
Those aren’t exact figures, but we reckon we’re not far wrong. With all this choice, you have access to just about any type of music program imaginable, from internet radio and streaming apps, to guitar tuners and portable DJ stations. But even if you wanted to, using them all would take more time than you likely have — and would waste all your phone’s memory too. Since you can’t download all zillion apps available not yet, anyway we’ve dug up the best music apps available for Android and iOS.

Most are available free of charge, but many also feature in-app purchases andmonthlysubscription fees. Nonetheless, below are our picks for the best music apps, whetheryou’re looking to simply listen to music, learn musical skills, or create your own tunes. And before we start, don’t forget that music is best listened towith a good pair of cans, so check out our picks for the best headphones you can buy and the best noise-canceling headphones.
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Source: Digital Trends


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Bamboo Music is a new Alexa Skill that makes learning music fun for the family | Digital Trends

Follow on Twitter as @luchanglu


And now, he and co-founder and education expert Irina Fine have debuted an education-focused software and services startup known as Bamboo Learning. Its first skill is Bamboo Music, which promises to help anyone and everyone learn music and music theory. While there’s no promise that Bamboo will turn your child into the next Chopin, there’s still plenty of reason to teach your tot music from an early age, as research has shown that a music education also boosts learning and memory capabilities. And with the new Bamboo Music, learning music doesn’t have to be a chore.

The Alexa skill introduces basic music concepts like notes, scales, chords, tempo, dynamics, intervals, and the sounds of different instruments. And by way of a wide range of exercises that were designed based on well-known music theory teaching methods, students regardless of age can begin learning how music is structured. As you practice and master skills, you’ll earn Bamboo Badges, and Bamboo Music will automatically take you to the next level of difficulty...

“Bamboo’s approach to developing the Bamboo Music Alexa Skill is to focus on learning that works well on a voice device, build lessons based on solid educational research and philosophy, make the Alexa Skills fun for the entire family, and enable parents to easily track progress,” said Fine.
Read more...

Source: Digital Trends and Ian Freed Channel (YouTube)


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Faculty books published in 2018 | William & Mary News

The following books were authored or edited by William & Mary faculty members and published in 2018. 

Photo: William & Mary News

Books are listed in alphabetical order within the following categories: arts & sciences and law. Additional categories may be added throughout the year as more books are published. The information contained herein was submitted by the authors. Additional books may be submitted via this online form. - Ed.
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Source: William & Mary News


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New textbook claims learning math causes ‘harm’ to students | Campus Reform

In a chapter for a new textbook, University of Exeter professor Paul Ernest warns that mathematics education can cause "collateral damage" to society by training students in "ethics-free thought."  

He even argues that since money involves mathematics, math is "implicated in the global disparities of wealth" because math students are taught to value "detached" and "calculative" reasoning.


Toni Airaksinen, New York Campus Correspondent writes, "A professor at the University of Exeter claims in a new textbook that learning mathematics can cause “collateral damage” to society by training students in "ethics-free thought."" 

Photo: Campus Reform

“The Ethics of Mathematics: Is Mathematics Harmful” was written by University of Exeter Professor Paul Ernest, and published as a chapter in a 2018 textbook he edited called The Philosophy of Mathematics Education Today. 

Despite the myriad benefits math offers to society—such as increased scientific knowledge and improved healthcare, allowing us to live longer and happier lives—Ernest warns of three ways mathematics education causes “collateral damage” to society. 

First, Ernest asserts that “the nature of pure of mathematics itself leads to styles of thinking that can be damaging when applied beyond mathematics to social and human issues,” since math facilitates “detached” and “calculative” reasoning.

“Reasoning without meanings provides a training in ethics-free thought,” he writes, fretting that this “masculine” paradigm “valorises rules, abstraction, objectification, impersonality, unfeelingness, dispassionate reason, and analysis.” 

Second, he argues that the “applications of mathematics in society can be deleterious to our humanity unless very carefully monitored and checked,” worrying particularly about how math facilitates transactions of money and finance. 

“Money and thus mathematics is the tool for the distribution of wealth,” he states. “It can therefore be argued that as the key underpinning conceptual tool mathematics is implicated in the global disparities in wealth.”

Finally, Ernest worries of the personal impact math has on “less-successful students,” especially women, since math is often perceived as a “masculine” and “difficult” subject. 
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Source: Campus Reform


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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Free courses will teach career-building skills to young people | Careers - Siliconrepublic.com

Photo: Jenny Darmody
Jenny Darmody, Careers Editor at Siliconrepublic.com notes, "Accenture and An Cosán Virtual Community College are set to roll out the virtual Skills to Succeed Academy throughout Ireland this summer."

Photo: sergey causelove/Shutterstock

As part of a €170m commitment to its Skills to Succeed initiative, Accenture is collaborating with An Cosán Virtual Community College (VCC) to roll out a free interactive online training programme.

The Skills to Succeed Academy is designed to give people throughout Ireland the skills and confidence to choose the right career as well as advance employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for individuals.

The programme will be rolled out throughout the summer to community organisations and local employment services in Clare, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Mayo, Meath, Sligo and Tipperary.

It uses virtual coaches, gamification and simulations to help users navigate their career paths while equipping them with skills they need to find long-term employment...

An Cosán VCC CEO Liz Waters compared the programme to a flight simulator for the world of work.

“The Skills to Succeed Academy is an innovative digital learning solution that gives jobseekers an opportunity to ‘learn by doing’ and try out real-world scenarios for themselves while learning key employability skills as well as having ongoing support in the local community along the way,” she said.
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Source: Siliconrepublic.com


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Survey: 7 in 10 People Don't Believe Online Classes Can Provide a 'True College Experience' | Campus Technology

"In spite of the fact that nine in 10 people believe online and distance learning programs will grow in popularity over time, seven in 10 don't think that students can a get a "true college experience" from an online-only program" says Dian Schaffhauser, senior contributing editor.

Photo: Campus Technology

That drops to five in 10 for those students who have attended a blended learning course.

Those results surfaced in "Online Education Trendspots," a survey intended to understand experiences and perceptions of online or distance education programs. The survey was produced by Verndale, a "customer experience" design agency. The company surveyed 320 people, ages 18 to 55, who have attended at least some level of college. Three-fifths of respondents said they had taken an online course.

The Verndale researchers suggested that online courses "are still being judged using legacy cultural benchmarks." They also anticipate that changing. "We will likely soon find that our expectations of a true 'college experience' are inherently blended, digital and global."...

The report is available with registration on the Verndale website.
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Recommended Reading 
 
Photo: Campus Technology
Survey: Most Students Say Online Learning Is as Good or Better Than Face-to-Face by Dian Schaffhauser, senior contributing editor.
The report is available with registration through the Learning House website.

Source: Campus Technology


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Loma Linda University School of Public Health offers three online learning programs | Loma Linda University Health

MPH and DrPH degrees for people whose schedules don’t allow for campus-based learning, continues Loma Linda University Health

Photo: istock

The Loma Linda University School of Public Health will offer three online degree programs this fall for people who want more flexibility than traditional classroom learning allows.

Students can choose between two online MPH degrees and one online DrPH degree. The first MPH and the DrPH degree offer a health education curriculum. The second MPH degree focuses on population medicine.

Anna Nelson, DrPH, MPH, program director for the MPH and DrPH in health education, says the curriculum is continuously updated to reflect changes in the job market. She cites convenience as a key reason some people choose online classes.

“Online learning programs allow you to continue living in your current location, working your current job and taking care of your family,” Nelson said. “You can continue with everything you were already doing and still get a degree.”

Nelson should know. She and her husband were living in Saudi Arabia when she enrolled in an online MPH program. After completing that, she signed up for an online DrPH degree at LLU. Not only did she keep living and working abroad, but her family grew while she studied. “I had two of my kids while doing this,” she says.

Karen Studer, MD, MBA, MPH, program director for the MPH degree in population medicine, says the program is open to any health professional.
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Source: Loma Linda University Health


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UC Berkeley puts blockchain training online; thousands sign up | Computerworld

After teaching an on-campus course about cryptocurrencies, UC Berkeley is planning to launch a two-part, online course aimed at educating students around to globe about cryptocurrencies and business-scale blockchain networks, inform Lucas Mearian, Senior Reporter, Computerworld.

Photo: Thinkstock

UC Berkeley in 2016 saw the potential for teaching about blockchain with a primary focus on bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies the technology underpins.
At the time, about 70 students signed up.

Next month, the university will kick off an online professional certificate program for blockchain, a three-month, two-part course focusing on cryptocurrencies and permissioned blockchains aimed at equipping students for careers in developing the distributed ledger technology for businesses.

So far, 7,400 students have already signed up.

"We've had other online courses that have done well, mainly STEM-related content... but I'd say this course's early results show very impressive enrollments," said Suzanne Harrison, director of design and development at UC Berkeley.

It's the first time Berkeley has opened its blockchain education program to students globally through an online learning platform...

The course wraps up with a look at various blockchain ventures today and concludes with a blockchain-based future thought experiment. 

Blockchain Fundamentals on edX 


EdX's Professional Certificate programs are series of courses designed by universities and industry experts, and they are highly valued by perspective employers. For example, Microsoft recently committed to contribute toward the cost for any community college student to complete the entry level Computer Science Professional Certificate program on edX.

Berkeley isn't alone. Several accredited U.S. universities now offer on-campus or online courses on cryptocurrencies and blockchain, including MIT, which offers two courses on cryptocurrency engineering and design; Princeton University; Stanford University; and Duke University, which also has a student-run curriculum. There are also specialty schools such as Mountain View, Calif.-based Blockchain University and London-based education startup B9lab, which launched an online Certified Ethereum Developer Training program in 2016.
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Source: Computerworld and Blockchain at BerkeleyX Channel (YouTube)  


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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A machine has figured out Rubik’s Cube all by itself | Intelligent Machines - MIT Technology Review

Unlike chess moves, changes to a Rubik’s Cube are hard to evaluate, which is why deep-learning machines haven’t been able to solve the puzzle on their own. Until now, as MIT Technology Review reports.

Photo: MIT Technology Review
by Emerging Technology from the arXiv June 15, 2018 

Yet another bastion of human skill and intelligence has fallen to the onslaught of the machines. A new kind of deep-learning machine has taught itself to solve a Rubik’s Cube without any human assistance.

The milestone is significant because the new approach tackles an important problem in computer science—how to solve complex problems when help is minimal.

First some background. The Rubik’s Cube is a three-dimensional puzzle developed in 1974 by the Hungarian inventor Erno Rubik, the object being to align all squares of the same color on the same face of the cube. It became an international best-selling toy and sold over 350 million units.

The puzzle has also attracted considerable interest from computer scientists and mathematicians. One question that has intrigued them is the smallest number of moves needed to solve it from any position. The answer, proved in 2014, turns out to be 26. 

Another common challenge is to design algorithms that can solve the cube from any position. Rubik himself, within a month of inventing the toy, came up with an algorithm that could do this.

But attempts to automated the process have all relied on algorithms that have been hand-crafted by humans.

More recently, computer scientists have tried to find ways for machines to solve the problem themselves. One idea is to use the same kind of approach that has been so successful with games like chess and Go.

In these scenarios, a deep-learning machine is given the rules of the game and then plays against itself. Crucially, it is rewarded at each step according to how it performs. This reward process is hugely important because it helps the machine to distinguish good play from bad play. In other words, it helps the machine learn...

Enter Stephen McAleer and colleagues from the University of California, Irvine. These guys have pioneered a new kind of deep-learning technique, called “autodidactic iteration,” that can teach itself to solve a Rubik’s Cube with no human assistance. The trick that McAleer and co have mastered is to find a way for the machine to create its own system of rewards.
Read more... 

Additional resources  
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1805.07470 : Solving the Rubik's Cube Without Human Knowledge
 
Source: MIT Technology Review


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